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Vail phases in electric buses to replace town's diesel fleet, full electrification expected by 2032

The Town of Vail

Vail, CO

Vail, CO’s winter-based economy and focus on sustainability led the town to embrace fleet electrification of its public buses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With an upgraded electrical grid and EV charging infrastructure, Vail now has the capability to support the full electrification of its 33 bus fleet.

Topics Covered

Fleet Management
Energy Efficiency

Cost

Initial: Zero Upfront Cost

Funding

General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Federal grants

State and local grants

Project Status

Operational since 2021

Gov Champion

Director of Public Works and Transportation

Problem Addressed

Climate change poses an existential threat to the heavy snowpack Vail, CO's tourism relies upon.

As the first mountain resort destination in the world to be certified under the Mountain IDEAL standard as a sustainable destination, Vail takes sustainability seriously and has goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% reduction in 2025, 50% by 2030, and 80% by 2050.

With transportation as the second-biggest contributor to Vail’s greenhouse gas emissions, the town committed to completely electrifying its 33 diesel-powered public bus fleet as part of its greenhouse gas emission abatement efforts.

In order to power the planned electric buses and other vehicles, Vail first needed to upgrade its electrical systems to support the necessary EV charging infrastructure.

Solutions Used

Vail is building the necessary electrical infrastructure in stages so it can transition its public bus fleet to 100% electric power.

The work included providing electrical system upgrades, a microgrid feasibility study, and engineering and design services for the installations of the DC charging stations.

Beginning in 2020, Black & Veatch first had to plan, design, and install an upgraded electrical design for the Public Works Bus Maintenance Facility and Depot to support the electrical requirements of the requisite EV charging infrastructure. The electrical design was then future-proofed to eventually support charging capability for the entire 33 bus fleet which was expected to be in operation by 2032.

Vail received grants from the Federal Transit Administration as well as the Colorado Department of Transportation for both the purchase of electric buses and the EV charging infrastructure to power them.

In 2021, Vail used the grant from the Colorado DOT to purchase four electric buses. Putting the buses into operation represented a major milestone in the town's progress on its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The buses are powered by the new Public Works Bus Maintenance Facility and Deposit electrical grid design and can be fully charged in under four hours.

“We chose to work with Black & Veatch on this project due to their experience and reputation of success in the field of electric vehicle charging,” said Greg Hall, Director of Public Works and Transportation for the Town of Vail. “In our work with them, their expertise and passion for sustainability really shone through, bringing added value and success to the project.”

Between the newly upgraded electrical facilities to handle the increased load from the EV charging infrastructure and its 4 electric buses, Vail has achieved an important step towards achieving its sustainability commitment.

Outcomes

1

Vail can now support a fully electric bus fleet with an upgraded electrical grid to power the necessary EV charging infrastructure

2

The town is making progress on its commitment to a fully electric public bus fleet with the purchase of four electric buses which can be fully charged in under four hours

3

With transportation as the second-highest source of emissions, Vail is on track to meet its emissions reduction targets by electrifying transit

4

Full fleet electrification is expected by 2032 as electric buses are phased in to replace the town’s diesel fleet

5

Vail’s efforts can be used as a blueprint for other towns/cities looking to reduce emissions

Who Should Consider

Towns/cities looking to electrify municipal fleets as part of overall emission reduction strategies

Last Updated

Apr 21st, 2022

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